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Stafford’s George Town Report:

Monday April 22nd and I am in George Town, Exuma for the 60th National Family Island Regatta. Richard, Monica and I flew down yesterday. Nomad, Randy Bobby and the Rage are already there. Rick and LouAnne also arrived yesterday only they were on the end of a towrope. Engine trouble on Imagine. We have work to do as the Rage has some broken stays from the pounding she took on the tow from Abaco to Exuma. We make a trip to town for the annual breakfast at the Town Café. Used to be it took forever to get served there but no longer they have a computerised system now – fast food – in Exuma. On to the Top To Bottom for hardware (3 trips total today), hit the grocery and beverage depot and back to Rage for stay repair. Patch the forestay replace the jib stay, done. More crew arrive in Jeff, Andrew and Nakia. Andrew and Lynn. Denis and Luke show up later in the day. PM activities include securing the Lonesome Dove off the barge from Nassau, stepping the mast and connecting the rigging. Rage gets some underwater patching as there is a leak just aft of the mast step. We find a rot spot on the Dove boom that will need to be fixed, tomorrow. A nice swim off the back of Nomad (watch out for the Remoras) completes the afternoon. Cleaned up, we all head over to Eddies Edgewater for Rake ‘n Scrape music/dancing and the best grouper dinner ever. Heading back to Nomad anchored, as usual over by Stocking Island I notice not much stars showing tonight……..
Tuesday morning early it has been raining pretty hard but by sunrise it had eased up and we were able to proceed with the daily supply run to town, breakfast and get on with rigging and repairs. Rage bilge is dry. We finish rigging her and choose a sail to try. Dove’s boom gets a patch over the bad spots but the epoxy needs time to harden. Lunch. Sail the Rage and tweak the stay adjustments. Feels good. Epoxy still drying. Race Committee informs us there will be a “Skippers Challenge” at 2:30 over by the dock if we want our Skippers to enter. Of course! They will sail the new “E” Class, there are 12 of them here for the Regatta. 2 man crew so Jeff and Andrew enter. Anchor start just like the bigger classes so you need 2 people. They sailed three races and scored a 4th, 5th and 5th. Respectable. The rest of the crew sat on the dock to watch and listened to all the trash talking and bet making. Wow. A whole different perspective for me as I am usually out there sailing. And these are the little boats the big boys ain’t been out there yet but the bets fly…..Jeff volunteers to register us at the Skippers Meeting wherein they presented, as usual, a rule book that often seems not to apply, that is, except for the section that says “local rules may apply”. Spaghetti dinner on Nomad is outstanding and we tell Regatta stories till no one can take it anymore…….
Wednesday and the winds are not so bad, A Class is sailing first, at 9:30. We are ready. It’s the Prime Ministers Cup Race and we are 4th on the start line. Rage had a great start and we are 6th (of 12) at the windward marker. Our sail selection is good and we are able to hold our position over 3 triangular laps around Elizabeth Harbour. The patch job on Doves boom is completed. Next is the B Class at 12:30 and I missed the start of the race because I was on a supply mission but they were 3rd at the windward marker. Hurry and store our supplies on Nomad now the Dove is on lap #2 and as they round the windward marker they are in 1st ahead of Susan Chase. Around the reach marker and heading for the finish Susan Chase is just going to fast….and Dove ends up in 2nd about 1 ½ boat lengths back. Not bad. Secure Dove alongside Nomad now Jeff, Andrew, Nakia and Monica are sailing C Class along with Pat Robinson on his “Two Friends”. 30 entries in C Class and they score a 6th. Outstanding. What a day of sailing. We cap it off with the welcome dinner at the Community Centre then some Swiggle out at the shacks on the dock. Mark Knowles, Skipper of Susan Chase, chastises us for our tactics today even though he won…….There was supposed to be a lie telling contest when we got back to Nomad but everyone was out like a light….
Thursday morning and the wind is blowing hard, honking as they say. Change sails on the Rage to a large main from the Dove. Never tried it before but what the heck let’s see what it will do. 9:30 sharp the A Class starts, 3 hotdogs with no gybing. Rage had a good start but just does not sail well under these conditions. 7th after lap 1 became 10th at the conclusion of lap 2 and we almost got the Ed Sky going upwind on lap 3 but nope, we didn’t so Rage was 10th. Well, no surprise. We had a nice sail anyway. Hurry up and secure the Rage, re rig Dove for the windy conditions, select the crew and head to the start line. I stay on board Nomad to update the trip report. I listen to the VHF as I am typing and I hear the Dove is in 4th at the 1st windward marker. There are collisions reported, Cobra has tangled up with “Ants Nest” and broke their (Cobra) mast but no mention of the Dove. They are reported as 6th at the leeward marker (2 hotdogs) I wonder what happened? More collisions at the windward marker and Dove is scored 6th around and they hold that place till the finish. Susan Chase wins again. Fast for a new boat. Jeff and Andrew sail with Pat on “Two Friends” again and are headed towards a top 5 finish when they tangle up with the “Fugitive” at the last marker. By the time they got untangled their position had fallen to about 14th. Mark Knowles is skippering the “Double B” and they break their mast on the 2nd lap. C Class has the most close racing due to the numbers. Burgers for dinner and we are done early today…..
Friday. Windy. Sheet. And the C Class goes first today with their final 2 points races, back to back starting at 9:30. Barbarian breaks their mast right off the start line. Whitty K and Sacrifice, both from Long Island are battling it out up front. Buzzy Rolle’s “Bul Reg” isn’t doing so well this Regatta Two friends sails consistently with an 8th and a 7th. Andrew has skippered this boat in several Regattas and has done well. Back on Nomad for a short break before the B Class at 12:30 we tweak the rigging on the Dove as pictures from yesterday have shown just how poorly our sail was shaped. A good start and on the 1st leg its Dove, Susan Chase and Eudevia all pretty close. Dove’s sail looks much better. Susan Chase is out with a broken mast! So at the windward marker Dove is 1st and flying. Eudevia and Lady Nathalie try but they can’t touch the Dove today and we get the gun. A Class? Plenty wind, a little light on crew, small sail = 11th place. Can’t believe we have been beat twice now by “Ed Sky”. Ah, well, we scored a bullet in B Class today and to follow that we had a nice steak dinner on Nomad. Lots of friendly chatter and joking, a few crew venture ashore but not yours truly……….
Saturday, same sheet, different day, but there is nothing we can do about the weather. No C Class race this morning so the crew takes advantage of the free time and we just relax on Nomad, chatting about nothing in peticular. A run to town for some free ice from Kay, the Juniors are out sailing their 3 one lap races (in the fledgling E Class boats) for the Junior National Championship. Conditions are brutal and one boat capsizes. That’s how you learn, I guess. Back on Nomad and Greg from St. Francis Resort & Marina, who has been sailing with us again, has provided pizza and wings for lunch. B Class is at 1:30 and because of the wind we change Doves sail for a smaller one. Out on Elizabeth Harbour and the small sail is to small so we switch back. Starting at the number 1 position today but the R/C does a poor job setting up the start line, its skewed bad! And the Dove has a 4 boat length disadvantage when the cannon fires. And Dove is 4th at the windward marker. On the 2nd lap upwind Dove made up some time but its only 2 short laps and we finish 4th. The Rage? Well, see yesterdays report and make the 11th a 12th. The boats were packed up for storage in record time. Back ashore for the results and trophy presentation (and the raffle drawing) we are happy to learn that the Dove had scored enough points to take 3rd overall. And the Regatta Comettee Raffle grand prize was a new Ford 150 King Cab (10:00 per ticket) was won by Charlie Cash of Hope Town. Charlies brother, Will Cash is a very active Junior sailor with the Hope Town Sailing Club. Very nice. So that’s another Regatta in the books, we wish we could have had 6 to 8 knots of wind so the Rage could have done better but we have no regrets. 38 days till Long Island…………………………………….

Filed under: George Town Regatta

One Response

  1. Bruce Van Fleet says:

    Wish I could be there again…… fond memories and great times many years ago.
    Hi to all.

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Racing Schedule

Wednesday, April 4
Hope Town Sailing Club
Triangular Course
Charles Pollack Trophy

April 24 - 28
George Town, Exuma
National Family Island Regatta



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